As a former eighth-grade English and language arts teacher, Kayse Morris knows a thing or two about teaching. But what she truly excels at is helping fellow teachers earn more money and understand their worth through her online business school for teachers, CEO Teacher.
The CEO Teacher® educates teachers on how to sell their resources and lesson plans online to make more money for themselves — a method Kayse herself used to supplement her teacher income nearly 10 years ago. In addition to her online program, Kayse is the host of a top-ranking business and marketing podcast The CEO Teacher Podcast. Here’s a quick look at Kayse’s business:
- Exceeded 7-figures in revenue for her online course and coaching business
- Earned over a million downloads of her podcast, The CEO Teacher®
- Reaches an audience of over 136K across social channels
The Challenge: Turning Side Income into a Thriving Business
Kayse may be at the helm of a 7-figure online business, but her success was years in the making — a decade, to be specific. In 2013, Kayse was a teacher who loved education but lost her spark for the classroom. As a young mom and wife, she also wanted more time and energy for her family at the end of the day.
“I like to say that like my life was in black and white,” she recalls. “I felt like I was just doing the same thing — rinse and repeat every single day.”
That’s when she discovered Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT), a platform where teachers can buy and sell lesson plans to each other, almost like “eBay for teachers.” After buying a lesson plan from another teacher, it wasn’t long before Kayse decided to give creating and selling her own resources a try.
Her first couple of years exploring this new venture were admittedly scrappy. “I had no idea what I was doing,” she says. “[There was] no one to lead the way [and] I couldn't afford any programs, so I would drive an hour to a local bookstore, sit on the floor, and read everything that I could about online marketing.”
Her first year of selling resources and lesson plans on TPT resulted in a couple of hundred dollars and increased to a couple thousand in her second year. In her third year, Kayse discovered the power of search engine optimization (SEO) — which is the heart and soul of what she now teaches in the CEO Teacher® program — and earned $90,000 from selling lesson plans. This income was in addition to her teaching salary which she says, “was life-changing for us.”
After reaching this level of success, as well as being motivated to provide even more for her family, Kayse decided to leave the classroom to start the business that would later become the CEO Teacher®.
The Solution: Leading the Way For Fellow Teachers
Though marketplaces like TPT were not new at the time, there wasn’t anyone guiding teachers through the process of starting an online business and making supplementary income. With this in mind, Kayse decided she wanted to answer the number one question people asked her: how did she do it?
“People would be like, ‘How did you leave the classroom? How are you selling lesson plans online? You're making a great living, could you show me how to do it too?’ And that's where my journey with Kajabi began,” she says.
In November 2018 (while seven months pregnant!), Kayse created her first online course on Kajabi which, at the time, was called Transform Your Resources. The course taught teachers how to sell their lesson plans online. She gave herself a seven-week runway to launch with a goal of making enough money to cover the costs of making the course — plus a little extra to spend on her kids for Christmas.
On launch day, Kayse hopped onto Facebook Live, sent an email to her 8,000 subscribers, and opened the cart on her website. The result was far greater than she anticipated.
“Within the first three hours, I made more money than I had made from an entire year of teaching.”
And in seven days, she made $124,000 from her online course.
“I went from, ‘I hope that I can pay for my kids to have a little extra Christmas’ to ‘my life looks completely different,’” she remembers.
However, that successful launch didn’t come without its challenges. Unsure if this was a fluke or a once-in-a-lifetime moment that she wouldn’t be able to recreate, Kayse started to doubt her business idea and capabilities. She decided to test the waters again by relaunching the course a few months later — and it made even more money, about $180,000.
“That was the validation that I needed,” she recalls. “This is something people need, something people want. And although I didn't know what it was going to look like moving forward, I knew that I had something.”
The Results: Becoming a Trusted Industry Resource
Since launching her first online course in 2018, Kayse has built a multi-million dollar business. In addition to using Kajabi to host her business, Kayse credits her incredible growth and success to building an audience early in her business.
Before doing online courses, she started a YouTube where she actively produced vlogs for her teacher audience. She’d record herself setting up her classroom and sharing advice — all for free. “I was able to build this audience and have that know, like, and trust factor, and I never asked them for anything,” says Kayse.
While the program has changed its name, evolved its messaging, and even switched up which social channels it’s marketed on, Kayse’s core mission has remained her guide through it all.
“Helping teachers finally make their worth is so important to me,” she says. “It may look a little different than it did four or five years ago, but I tried to make that the core promise behind the CEO teacher.”
Kayse has also added a monthly membership to her business. She realized that her audience wasn’t just looking for one-time help through an online course but also ongoing support as they built their online businesses. Kayse met this need by creating a monthly coaching membership that provides coaching for teachers and gives them access to over 300 video lessons as well as rotating resources each month.
“I'm very passionate about coaching people and helping them succeed,” she says. “It's not enough for me just to give them videos — I want to make sure I'm there at least once a month.”
Looking Forward: Empowering a Teaching Movement
Kayse’s next step feels like a natural one: creating a network of teachers who can teach and support one another. She plans to launch a coaching program where teachers can use her framework to teach fellow teachers how to do what she and so many others have done to make money online.
As Kayse’s business continues to evolve, she credits her consistency and dedication to her mission as major reasons for her success in the online course and coaching space.
“You may feel like this could never happen to you, but you belong here just as much as I do,” she says. “I'm not the smartest person in the room, but what I am is consistent.”
She adds, “You don't need to have anything fancy. You just need to have a lot of heart and a lot of why behind what you're doing.”
If you’re looking to follow in Kayse’s footsteps, here are her parting tips for building a 7-figure business:
- Consistency is key: Staying consistent in your efforts is key in the early years of building your business, even when it feels like no one is watching. “I have not missed one week of podcasting and I have shown up for my audience time and time again,” says Kayse. “If you can be consistent and you can be passionate, I think anything you want in life can happen.”
- Focus on one main thing: To reach your buyers, you have to hone in on one solid offering. “If you’re not even sure what you sell right now, [you risk] confusing your buyer,” says Kayse. “And if you confuse you lose.”
- Be vulnerable: Putting yourself out there can feel terrifying, but, as Kayse puts it, “People want a real person. They want a real story. They want to know about you — and it's okay to share as long as you have boundaries around that.”
- Don’t try to be on every social channel: Focus on the channel where your buyer hangs out. For Kayse’s business, that’s Instagram. “I developed a TikTok following so quickly, but we did a launch and we put in a lot of effort [there] and I realized that my buyers are not on TikTok,” she recalls. “I can get a lot of people checking me out on TikTok, but we could clearly see the data that my buyers live on Instagram.”
Ready to launch your online course? See how Kajabi can help you build a thriving online business like Kayse’s.